Sat, Dec 11, 2004 - Page 10 News List

TAIEX closes flat in reluctant trading

AP AND BLOOMBERG , TAIPEI

Shares closed flat yesterday, with investors reluctant to buy on the eve of elections that could well see a change of control at the legislature.

The TAIEX ended down 2.34 points, or 0.03 percent, at 5,911.63.

In reasonably active dealings totaling NT$60.15 billion (US$1.85 billion), 283 stocks ended higher, 321 were lower and 232 finished unchanged.

"Nobody would be so stupid to jump into the market before a big political event," said Maggie Chien, an investment consultant at Capital Investment Management (群益投顧).

The New Taiwan dollar also fell against the US dollar amid concerns that global investors will shun the market before today's election, dealers said.

The local currency this week fell 0.9 percent to NT$32.475 against the greenback, according to the Taipei foreign exchange market. It advanced 4.6 percent this year.

Overseas fund managers today sold a net NT$10 billion (US$308 million) of Taiwan's shares, the most since May 10, according to Taiwan Stock Exchange figures.

Chien said that whoever wins the elections, the market may see a rally next week on relief that the elections are over. But the index is unlikely to rise much, meeting resistance before it reaches 6,000, she said.

Financial stocks were the worst performers yesterday, down 0.5 percent as a whole. First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), the nation's fourth largest financial group, ended 1.5 percent lower at NT$27.1, while Taiwan Business Bank (台灣企銀), a government-controlled lender, declined 0.8 percent to NT$12.00.

Union Bank of Taiwan (聯邦銀行) added another 0.4 percent to NT$11.35, after climbing 4.2 percent on Thursday on news that it surprisingly won the bidding for debt-ridden Chung Shing Bank (中興銀行) for a lower-than-expected NT$7.11 billion (US$219.92 million).

Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (台積電), the world's largest contract chipmaker, ended flat at NT$48.20.

The stock was trading in negative territory for most part of the session after the company said on Thursday its revenue had fallen for the third straight month in November. Rival United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) finished unchanged too, at NT$19.90.

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